You see them.  The “cool” people, stuck in gridlock every day along with everyone else, clogging the expressways.  They refuse to take public transportation, refuse to carpool, and insist on being the only passenger in their gas chugging smog factory.  Yet, for years, they’ve been fuming about the cost of gasoline, having done nothing at all but fuel the problem at the rate of under 20 miles per gallon combined city/highway fuel economy.  Here’s a quick primer on how to spot them, the ones that are still living in the 80s!

 

1980s Cool: Dual/Quad Exhaust

2010s Cool: No Exhaust

 

 

 

1980s Cool emblem:

2010s Cool emblem:

 

1980s cool under the hood:

2010s cool under the hood:

 

 

1980s commuter cool:

2010s commuter cool:

 

 

 

 

1980s Cool: Racing between stops, going nowhere fast.

2010s Cool: Pulse and Glide!

 

 

 

 

1980s Cool: Practical for where they told you that you’d drive it

2010s Cool: Practical for where you actually have to drive it:

 

 

 

 

1980s Cool: Family hauler, supposedly rides “like” a car

2010s Cool:  Family hauler, actually IS a car!

 

 

 

 

1980s Cool: Seats 7.  Can tow.  2WD.  15 combined mpg.  Starts at $41,995.

2010s Cool: Seats 7.  Can tow.  AWD.  28 combined mpg. Starts at $39,970.

 

 

 

 

1980s Cool: Seats 7 or 8. 16mpg. Good Crash Ratings. 24.6% Rollover Risk.  $63k+

2010s Cool: Seats 8.  22mpg.  Best Crash Ratings.  12.7% rollover risk.  $28k+

 

 

 

1980s Cool: Sport Sedan. 0-60mph in under 6 sec. Seats 4.  19mpg.  Starts at $72k.

2010s Cool: Sport Sedan.  0-60mph under 6 sec. Seats 5 or 7.  95 mpg.  Starts at $62k

 

 

 

 

1980s Cool: Compact Car.  Seats 4.  16 combined mpg.  Starts at $60,100

2010s Cool: Compact Car. Seats 5.  33 combined mpg.  Starts at $14,200

 

 

The 1980s was the decade of excess, of big hair and of popped collars.  So, other than dressing up like Madonna or Weird Al at a costume party, you generally avoid trying to look like you’re living in the 80s, right?  So why drive like you’re living in the 80s?

Europe, Japan and most of the world somehow have managed for decades with extremely few full size vans, full size pickups, full size SUVs or even full size sedans on the road that suck gas like there is actually no tomorrow.  Why does it seem like Americans can’t possibly figure out a way to do without these pollution factories that still get less than 20 miles per gallon combined fuel economy, but seem to dominate showroom floors and consumer preferences anyway?

Top to bottom cool cars for this decade:  Nissan Leaf, hybrids, Honda Fit EV wagon, Chevrolet Volt, Ford C-Max, traffic (cool to emit no fumes while stopped!), Mazda5, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Honda Odyssey, Tesla Model S, Ford Fiesta.